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He called me his ex’s name!

My husband called me by his ex-wife’s name. Should it still bother me?

We all have a mental burp once in a while, says our elder. Let it go.

Dear EWC

Hello, this is an issue I should have written about a year ago because that’s when it happened, but I didn’t know about EWC then. It doesn’t bother me like it used to, but I still remember it. My husband and I had been together for seven years at the time. When I met him, he was divorced and had been for seven years. Last summer, out of the blue, he would be talking and instead of saying my name he referred to me by his ex-wife’s name. The first time I caught him doing it he realized it himself and acted surprised, like he couldn’t believe what he just said. The second time I caught him doing it he didn’t even realize it. The third time I caught him doing it he was on the phone with his sister and I heard him say the wrong name again without even realizing it. This all happened within a month and it was odd because he and his ex-wife don’t exactly communicate anymore (no kids together) and he had been divorced from her for 14 years as of last year when he was getting the names mixed up. This was something that never happened before last summer and it hasn’t happened since. The first time I shrugged it off because I figured it wasn’t a big deal and shrugging it off was the right thing to do. The second time I felt angry and yelled at him. The third time I just felt hurt. He guessed the reasoning behind it was because he was making changes to his cell phone plan. He said his ex-wife’s name was still on the plan from when they were married and her name came up. I guess that’s a logical excuse, but gee whiz! I never realized how hurtful it is when your husband calls you by another woman’s name (especially a woman he was once in love with). I still think about it and hope it doesn’t happen again. Any similar experiences?

Good-Listener replies

I understand how one can feel when a partner blurts out the name of a past love. So, on that level, I do sympathize with your feeling a little hurt, or even just a little odd. Anyone would. However, no one is perfect and sometimes this stuff just happens. You said it only occurred three times, and during that time he was dealing with getting his wife’s name off his cell phone account. She was on his mind and it just came out. I do realize how uncomfortable it could be, but, if possible, let it go. I have seen it happen with friends and their partners, and it likely occurs far more than one might think. We all get something on the brain at times and then it just emerges verbally. If this is not something that happens regularly, I’d focus on all the good things he is in your life, and allow him to have a mental burp once in a while (as we all do). I’m not trying to dismiss your feelings — as I said, it would be uncomfortable for anyone, but I just don’t see this as something you need to hold onto. Good luck.

Letter #: 458884
Category: Marriage

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